Texas SBOE Election for 2012: Carlisle v. Rowley

As you know by now, all 15 seats on the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) are up for election this year, and the primary election is set for 29 May. We’ve previously discussed the race for District 5, where incumbent Ken “Dog-Cat” Mercer is being challenged, and District 10, where three GOP candidates are contending for an open seat (see Texas State Board of Education Races for 2012), and for District 8, where the incumbent chairman, creationist Barbara Cargill is being challenged (see Cargill v. Ellis). Now we’ll discuss the situation in District 15, which seems to be an open seat.

In the Amarillo Globe-News of Amarillo, Texas we read Evolution debate on tap. It’s one of the worst, most disorganized, and virtually chaotic news stories we’ve ever seen — they don’t even mention the primary candidates’ political parties, nor do they distinguish between the coming primary election and the much later general election — but we’ll try to make some sense of it.

To put things in perspective — which the Amarillo Globe-News doesn’t bother to do — there are two Republicans contending for their party’s nomination in the 29 May primary: Anette Carlisle and Marty Rowley. The winner of that primary will face Democrat Steven Schafersman in November. Steven Schafersman has no opposition for his party’s nomination, so the article barely mentions him, but he’s very good on the issue of science education and we’ll probably favor him when the general election is held. For this post we’ll discuss only the two GOP contenders. Here are some excerpts from the news article, with bold font added by us:

The State Board of Education is scheduled to review science materials in summer 2013, when Amarillo attorney Marty Rowley, Amarillo Independent School District board president Anette Carlisle and a handful of other contenders for seats on the panel hope to stir anew efforts to kindle classroom discussion of alternatives to evolution.

That’s interesting. The SBOE will be buying science books next year, and Texas is one of the nation’s biggest textbook buyers, so their choices can influence the publishing industry. After Texas went insane in 2009-2010, the California legislature passed a bill that would prevent their state from adopting textbooks that had been perverted by the Texas standards (see Texas Textbook Lunacy: California Backlash), but we understand the bill was vetoed by the Governor. (Is Arnold Schwarzenegger a creationist?) Anyway, this year’s Texas SBOE elections are going to be important. The story continues:

In District 15, Rowley is running against Carlisle, and science is a hot topic. Her [Anette Carlisle’s] stance is decisions about science curriculum should be based on the consensus of experts and educators in the field.

That sounds nice. However …

“I would defer to the experts and say, ‘Are we doing what’s right?’” she said. “I think that’s what they went with when they passed the science curriculum standards at the state board the last time. They relied on expert input.”

Yeah, expert input. At the SBOE’s 2009 hearings on science standards, the creationist majority stacked the deck by loading up the hearing with creationist “experts” (see Texas Creationism “Show Trial” Today). Is that what Carlisle has in mind? Here’s her campaign website: Anette Carlisle. There are many generalities, but nothing specific on science education. Wait — among her endorsements we see Thomas Ratliff, who defeated Don McLeroy last time around. We also see Bob Craig, the current SBOE member from District 15. He’s always been sane, so both of those endorsements are a good sign. Let’s read on:

[Marty] Rowley said he disagrees with those viewpoints. “Evolutionists would say that we progressed to this point through a series of unplanned, random circumstances and random events,” he said. “I don’t believe that tells the whole story. I think there is more to our creation that indicates an intelligent being that has played a significant role.

Whoa — hard core creationism! We continue:

Scientists already look at the strengths and weaknesses in anything they study, [Anette] Carlisle said. Including religious beliefs in science curricula would be troublesome because not every student holds the same beliefs, she said.

Hey, she’s not bad at all — at least compared to Rowley. But we wish she’d be specific about issues like evolution. Here’s more:

Evolution’s flaws as well as alternative theories should be part of the discussion, Rowley said.

Well, at least we can easily classify him. Our preliminary opinion on this race is that no matter who wins in the GOP primary (and we hope it’s Carlisle), we’ll probably be supporting Steven Schafersman in the general election.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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10 responses to “Texas SBOE Election for 2012: Carlisle v. Rowley

  1. docbill1351

    For your Sunday reading enjoyment, The Best of Marty Rowley.

    This thread garnered an amazing 180 comments! Some of which by yours truly. Commenter D. Shormann is a creationist who got a degree from Texas A&M, I think, with a PhD in “lake study.” He teaches creationism at a Sunday school (I kid you not) and publishes home school literature. Well, read for yourself in the comments and make your own decision as to Shormann’s “qualifications” for discussing science and evolution.

    Outside of science, Marty Rowley is an equal opportunity opinionated ignoramus on every subject under the sun. In other words, a find addition to the Texas SBOE!

  2. That’s great stuff, docbill! Including your contribution (I only got to your first comment).

  3. @Doc Bill: Reading through your comments now. Wow! Debating (and I use that term loosely, since Shormann is more interested in sowing distortion and confusion than clarity) is like fighting with a pillow. The pillow just absorbs the blows, then bounces back as if nothing happened. He obviously has a problem with something as simple as defending his statement on the age of the earth.
    Put another way, Shormann brought a banana to a gunfight.
    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get some popcorn before I read the rest!

  4. From the article: “Evolution’s flaws as well as alternative theories should be part of the discussion, Rowley said.”

    With that my alarms and sirens went off far louder than yours does when WND regurgitates. Here’s why: That phrase was parroted almost verbatim from a quote in an infamous anti-evolution bill (I forget where) several years ago. Now I’m no expert in grammar, but both statements, when read quickly sound like the “flaws” of both evolution and the alternative “theories” would be discussed. But on closer inspection it reads like only the “flaws” of evolution would be discussed, and the “flaws” of the “alternatives” censored. As a scam it’s a masterpiece. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, the last time, every “Darwinist” fell for it.

    So here’s another golden opportunity to hold a scam artist’s feet to the fire. Rowley needs to be asked at every opportunity: “So what are the flaws of the alternatives?” Feel free to use that quote verbatim without crediting me.

  5. will Fraser

    Coppedge Trial? He’s going to get nuked
    by the judge. Hopefully the judge will make a few Kirz vs Dover quality statements in his ruling. It won’t phase the wingnuts but it’s always gratifying to see a fuel injected flaming creationist like Coppedge turn into a smoking pile of rubble after slamming into reality and the Constitution at Mach 2. Makes for a great show,
    and the whining afterwards is interesting as well , kind of like an alley cat howling at 2 AM Contribution to mankind for all this creationist illogic ? Zero

  6. Wow, sorry you have to suffer this Texas. Do we need the kiddies to learn about evolution in school? Is it a historical theory that makes no testable predictions and has no practical value? Physicians use evolutionary concepts such as selection pressure, adaptation, and heritable mutation every day in antibiotic prescibing alone, a quantifiable result of predictions made by the theory. Don’t even get me started on balanced polymorphism! When you get to med school, they assume you already know these things. They will never reference your background in specified complexity – except maybe in the clinical years when you learn to avoid affirming the consequent, to beware of confirmation bias, and to avoid the misuse of statistical analysis. So, maybe a useful negative example, but nothing with any real utility.

  7. Spector567

    It’s sad but it has never surprised me that Creationists and climate deniers are often one and the same.

  8. @Spector567:

    Similarly, I’m not surprised that the same people who bait-and-switch abiogenesis with evolution, the fact of evolution with the theory, etc., are almost always the same ones bait-and-switch global warming in general with anthropogenic global warming with “what govt. ought to do about it.”


    I don’t know whether to thank or curse you for the link to that train wreck, but a half hour of reading the evasion and subject-changing by Rowley’s (greased) “bulldog” removes any doubt that Rowley is as in on the scam as Don “big tent” McLeroy.

  9. docbill1351

    Regarding Rowley’s greased Chihuahua, he is a typical lying creationist. He claimed to have “evidence” he didn’t have and was clearly used to people just swallowing his pablum rather than spitting. I tired of the thread after I threw him a bone about his own freaking published research which, apparently, he didn’t understand. Even after I pointed to the bone he couldn’t figure it out. I believe (Ah BELIEVE!) that creationism turns your brain to mush. At one time this guy collected data about the Brazos River system and wrote about his findings and jumped through enough hoops to earn a PhD (yea, an Aggie PhD, but still … ), yet today he was as clueless as Kent Hovind with Alzheimer’s.

  10. docbill1351: “…yet today he was as clueless as Kent Hovind with Alzheimer’s.”

    From the comments I read, it looked like he had enough on the ball to know better than to challenge OECs and IDers. If I had “evidences” of a young or flat earth, or geocentric universe, I’d do whatever was necessary to convince them before I started pestering those “unreasonable” “Darwinists,” with their prior commitment to (methodological) naturalism.